by Amelia Baker
In an ideal world of eco-fashion, we wouldn’t even buy (um, consume) anything new.
But let’s face it; we need a happy medium. Eventually, after you’ve become an enlightened planet warrior you may rethink the overzealous gift-giving. Honestly, I love giving gifts but I make sure they have a purpose.
So here you have it–a one-of-a kind, tailored Green Shopping Guide for Hampton Roads. Well, it’s kind of skewed to the Southside because I don’t get out of my Norfolk bubble too terribly much. Though I would love to give you suggestions that selfishly lead you to Green Alternatives for all of your holiday wares, I’ll restrain and give you the goods from other Hampton Roads’ fabulous mom-and-pops too.
- CSA Subscription | A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture and subscriptions are offered in seasons. The upcoming CSA package starts in January, runs 12 weeks and is $15 a week or $180. Every Saturday, the parents pick up a bag chock full of local produce. www.5ptsfarmmarket.org. Green Starter Kit | Put together a bundle of greenie products to get your parents on the road to environmental stewardship. This way, you can spend what you want and shop around.
- Manure | Show them you give a $*%! with the gift of poo. No joke, manure is actually a pretty awesome gift. It’s a donation to farmers for them to purchase manure to sustain their crops. The Oxfam site has SO many other fun gifts like this so be sure to shop around on the site. $12 www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com
- Naro 10-Pack | Everyone loves a good flick and you can’t beat the prices for the Naro 10-pack. $58 www.narocinema.com
- Dinner at The Boot or Pasha Mezze | Why not celebrate your friendship with a fantastic, relaxing evening of good food and good drink that’s local, local, local. The Boot & Pasha buy from local farmers and take pride in offering seasonal, delicious fare. www.insidetheboot.com or www.pashamezze.com
- Gift Card Extravaganza | Stop by your local favorites and pick up a gift card from each. Maybe you pick up gift certificates from the places you and your BFF love, love, love so it means more.
The Significant Other
- Amazon Kindle | I’m assuming you may be more inclined to spend a few bucks on the other half. That being said, the Kindle is a super gift. It’s totally tree free and offers up less expensive books, magazines, newspaper, and blog subscriptions. $259 www.amazon.com
- A Day to Enjoy the Scenery | Plan a day that will allow you and your favorite person to really soak up local surroundings. Maybe enjoy a sunrise at the oceanfront, a breakfast picnic at a park, a kayak ride in one of our waterways, lunch at a local establishment. The possibilities are endless and this one’s a surefire way to save a few bucks too. Hampton Roads has a lot to offer; get out there and see it! Carbon-Neutral Bicycle | Remember when getting a bike for Christmas was the only thing that mattered? You were probably 9, but remember the excitement? Bring that back by getting a new, two-wheeler that fits your current lifestyle. Oh, and be sure to get a basket on it too so you can tote your groceries and shopping goodies back to the house. Check out www.eastcoastbicycles.com or www.contebikes.com or thrift stores and craigslist.
- Stainless Steel Reusable Bottle | This reusable, safe gift will be your outdoorsman’s best friend. Green because it’s durable and reusable over and over and over. $13.99 – $33.99 www.greenalternativesstore.com
- Chico Bag Day Pack | An awesome gift that I know your outdoorswoman doesn’t have yet because they just came out a few months ago. It’s the perfect size for a day’s pack, hence the name, and folds into itself for easy storage. $23.99 www.greenalternativesstore.com
- Norfolk Botanical Gardens Membership | An annual membership not only supports the local gardens, but grants access to more than 155 acres and includes a slew of membership perks and discounts. $45 www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org
- Kiva Gift Certificate | Kiva is a medium for fortunate folks like us to offer up small loans to entrepreneurial spirits in developing countries. They’re loans so the money comes back and then can be reinvested. Gift certificates start at $25. www.kiva.org
- American Forests Offset | American Forests helps calculate how much carbon annually needs to be offset with tree planting. The average single family household would need to planet about 112 trees so at $1 per tree, you do the math. And, you’re not limited to annual offsets. You can plant as many or few trees as you’d like. www.americanforests.org
- Farm Market Bucks | Your favorite eco person surely will be supporting local fare. The Five Points Community Farm Market offers gift certificates so your loved ones can stock up on goodies. www.5ptsfarmmarket.org
The Friend Who Has EVERYTHING
- Mail Stopper | They might have everything so why not help clear out some waste. Mail Stopper is a company that works with all of the junk mail offenders to stop those wasteful messes from ending up in your mailbox. $20 for an annual membership www.tonicmailstopper.com.
- Elliot’s FairGrounds Coffee Gift Certificate | Even if they have it all, they’ll probably still need a caffeine fix and Elliot’s serves up guilt free coffee and tea that’s organic and fair trade. www.fairgroundscoffee.com
- Reclaimed /Reworked Gifts | It’s pretty amazing what can come of junk. From earrings made of bottle caps to bangles from busted skateboard decks to appetizer platters from wine bottles, the gifts are abundant and guilt-free. www.greenalternativesstore.com but the actual store has the full selection.
- Yoga Sessions | Help your trendsetting pal find peace at one of the amazing studios in Hampton Roads like The Space Above or Hot House Yoga.
- Organic & Fair Trade Coffee | Pick up a selection of coffee goodies that promise to be easy on the planet and the growers. A personal favorite is Dean’s Beans which is what I have at the store, but there are definitely a spread of options at many markets and coffee shops around town. Usually about $10-$11 a bag.
- Farm Market Basket | Custom tailor your basket for the boss by picking and choosing from the Five Point Community Farm Market holiday jams, jellies, and more. Starting mid-December you pick the budget, the basket, and the goods. The market will package it up nice and pretty for you. www.5ptsfarmmarket.org
Just the other day I was chatting with a friend about holiday gifts. We both agreed that gifts should only be given if the gift-giver put thought into the present. It really is the thought that counts so make sure your gifts have a purpose this year. Show your greenness and passion for all things earthy by supporting local or thoughtful, philanthropic endeavors. If you’re at a total loss and are low on funds, volunteer with a friend or family member. You’ll both get more out of it than you would ever think.
Disclaimer: There are SO many local establishments that are worthy of your patronage, not just the ones mentioned in this article. Please be sure to visit your favorite spots and support them this holiday season.